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Pingtung Bus “Reserved Buses” On Campus

Pingtung Bus “Reserved Buses” On Campus

On November 23rd, the Directorate General of Highways and the Pingtung County Government accompanied Pingtung Bus and NPUST at the opening ceremony for the “Demand Response Transportation System” (DRTS). This will be the first time nationwide for DRTS services to be offered within university campus grounds and will include Taiwan’s first-ever APP reservation and “late bird reservation” services.

NPUST President Chang-Hsien Tai pointed out that “NPUST is situated on a 300 hectare campus and many of the students are living in off-campus dorms. For the most part, students get around on scooters and at peak times traffic can be busy, to say the least. In order to improve on-campus safety and convenience of movement, effective alternatives to scooters need to be offered. The DRTS system can provide students with a safe and convenient commuting option; and in the future, hopes are to integrate more of the smart technology developed by the university to improve all aspects of daily life, including eating, clothing, living and commuting — and also to help farmers in more remote areas with the transporting of their produce. We are also grateful to the Pingtung County government for providing financial support; not only with respect to the mass transit systems, but also with the re-engineering of Keda Road. The financial support from the government will translate into safer commuting for students.”

Pingtung County Governor, Men-An Pan, said that “with its vast space, NPUST is the most qualified university to offer on-campus bus services. We are grateful for the support provided by the Directorate General of Highways, for approving the opening of many new routes so that students and faculty will be able to enjoy this type of convenient service”.

DRTS has been broadly implemented in rural areas around the country as a result of the recent promotion of the system by the Directorate General of Highways. The DGH also recognized the feasibility of employing the system at university campuses and thus invited Pingtung Bus and NPUST to team up to get the project rolling, and to serve as the first example of on-campus DRTS services in the country.

Currently the DRTS services all follow a model that requires reservations to be made one day in advance; however, taking “student life” into consideration, Pingtung Bus has worked to improve the system, offering the first ever DRTS “late bird” services, so that students can make reservations according to a post-arrival threshold or according to specific bus number, allowing for maximum occupancy and more efficient services. Additionally, with the APP functions, students can make reservations 24 hours a day.

The director of Pingtung Bus, Zi-yi Kuo, noted that Pingtung Bus already has a shuttle service to and from NPUST, however, with the traditional type of service it may be hard to accommodate for students’ situations. In order to get the mass transit more in touch with students’ needs, Pingtung Bus not only will start a brand new service, but has purchase a 9-seater bus to access the small and narrow student dorm roads, so that we can reach deeper into the student’s territory and increase the number of users.

The current route includes 12 stops on and off campus. In order to accommodate for the new services, the Pingtung County government is funding the creation of four additional stops, mainly to provide locations for students living off campus and make it more convenient for the students to take the shuttle to and from school.

Beginning operations on November 23rd, the new services are already receiving rave reviews from students, and with support from both the Pingtung County government and NPUST, free fare and a one person occupancy requirement are expected to help get students into the habit of using the new means of commuting.

In the future, plans are to conduct periodic reviews and increase the number of stops on campus and in the surrounding area. The goal is to link the DRTS services to the routes running between NPUST and the Pingtung train station and Kaohsiung HSR station to provide a more comfortable and convenient way for students to commute.

Zi-Yi Kuo also said that providing safe and convenient services for students, faculty and colleagues was the original intent and mission of Pingtung Bus. “We hope that this first case of cooperation between a bus company and university will serve as an example for others to follow, resulting in more on-campus DRTS services and working towards the goal of providing safe and environmentally-friendly transportation nationwide.”

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